Be honest, you probably own somewhere between a handful and a shelf-full of various survival and prepping oriented books. And you have the intention of reading them, but know that you probably won’t unless you absolutely must. My personal survival oriented book collection occupies about eleven linear feet of shelf space. While the books address many topics, they fit into about a half dozen specific genres. There are the military survival manuals, the medical and first aid tomes, those pages that address wilderness lore and primitive skills, general prepping, hunting, tracking, gardening, game preparation, food storage, a few odd tangents, and plenty of survival stories. So how to take my library on the run?
First, the bunker. I chose the Pelican Storm Case iM2400 waterproof polycarbonate container. If the end of the world is more of a whimper, then this case is overkill. But if it’s more of the bang I suspect it will be, then this Pelican is just the bird for the Storm. The size is about the same as a small suitcase, and was chosen to provide some focus to the bunker, but not to limit this to a Top Ten List. Additionally, weight and size need to play a role in your decision making. If I Bug In, I have all my books, magazines, manuals, and pretty much everything else in my prepping world. But if I have head to my BOL (Bug Out Location) then I need a single, durable, waterproof package that just might contain my entire Library of Alexandria.
Importance of Purpose of Bug Out Books
Like many with a survivalist/prepper bend, I tend to accumulate books about all aspects of survival from pet first aid, to boobytraps, to gardening within a square foot, to firearm repair. But as my library increased in weight, I decided what I really needed is a Bug Out Bag Of Books or BOBOB. Or another name I use is my Survival Book Bunker or SBB. In other words, a consolidation of reading material chosen specifically for when one must take the survival literature show on the road. Bug Out Books are not about Bug Out Bags (that ship has sailed), but instead the necessary skills that might be needed in the future to survive and thrive post Bug Out.
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Lately, however, I have admitted to myself that I won’t be reading many of these books cover to cover but rather just referring to them or studying their table of contents so I know the gist of the book. And instead of putting the books back on the shelf, I have decided to build a portable bunker for them when when I have to throw the Survival Book Bunker (SBB) in the back of the Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) when I head to my Bug Out Location (BOL) with my Bug Out Bag (BOB).
The books I’ve selected are not in stone. They are just the best representatives of the different categories or genres of books that I think will be mission critical in a true Bug Out situation.
Current Book Categories
1. Advanced strategic survival techniques: These books are the military survival books that address situations across all terrains, weather, and adversaries. They often lean towards the escape/evasion/short and long term survival from a non-apocalyptical point of view. But no matter the perspective, they are the broad-spectrum information antibiotic for survival. If you don’t have these books, you might not need the rest of the books in the bunker.
2. First Aid and Emergency Care: This category of books should need no introduction. But what it does need is a variation of complexity. For some who might use this Book Bunker, basic first aid might be a new skill. Others however, might be advanced and need guidance in surgical techniques for removing bullets and suturing wounds and cauterizing arteries. And not just for humans. Animal care might be part of your kit. I know Pet Vetting is part of mine.
3. Primitive skills and Woodlore: Books in this pile are geared towards self-reliance and off-grid life. They include topics about solid shelters, cooking, toolmaking, and pretty much anything else you might need for long-term life in the woods. There are plenty of sub-genres in this category including hunting and gathering, long-term food storage, long-term shelter building, tanning hides, making cordage, and literally basket weaving. On a side note, my particular copy of “Wilderness Living and Survival Skills” is autographed and signed by both authors. I’m not sure it will improve my chances, but everytime I see the signatures I will know I am not alone in the survival world.
4. Gardening and Food Preservation: Maybe 50 or 100 years ago, a basic understanding that everyone would have is how to preserve game, salt meat, and can fruit. Not that those skills are difficult, but rather just elusive in today’s technofied world. But luckily they can be regained rather quickly with a few minutes of reading, and a few hours of doing. Gardening? Well that is another matter entirely. Gardening, like marksmanship, is a skill gained through practice and experience that is also perishable. But when it comes to food production, the stakes are a little higher to getting it right the first time.
5. X-Factor books: There is room for a few in my Survival Book Bunker for a couple tomes about boobytraps, parameter security, and a few other unmentionable topics that might provide a level of security and survival advantage beyond the suggestions in mainstream literature. And I’ll just leave it at that for now.
A few topics are missing from my Book Bunker. I might add them later, but for now I will leave them as just concerns on the horizon.
Farming and Ranching: Frankly, I would find it more likely that I would stumble across a library of books on animal husbandry than I would find a herd of cattle in need of an owner.
Blacksmithing: A couple of hundred years ago i would have worried about making my own ironworks including blades. But today I am going to reserve my Book Bunker space for dead-on needs over imagined scarcity. In fact, for blacksmithing I would need much more gear in my BOB than just a book on how to forge metal like a hammer, anvil, bellows, and shop.
Drug chemistry: While it would be nice to grab a handful of whatever is around and formulate some broad-spectrum antibiotics, in reality the chance of cooking up some perfect drugs for your needs is pretty slim. In the end, I will leave my chemistry needs to medicinal plant guides and chicken soup for colds.
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Survival Stories etc.: There is an entire shelf of books that no longer have immediate relevance because, as I noted above, “That Ship Has Sailed!” These books including general preparing, how to Bug Out, what to consider with your Bug Out Vehicle, where you should put your Bug Out Location, and what you should cache in your BOL. Also of lesser consequence are lists of supplies, and the endless pile of survival stories (although there is still plenty of successful data mining to do if you have the time).
In the end, if you toss in a Bible of your persuasion and a copy of the US Constitution into your Survival Book Bunker you should be good to go. Think I missed something? Add your suggestions in the comments.